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{bio,medical} informatics

Monday, March 18, 2002

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find related articles. powered by google. digitalMASS Compaq chief's comment stuns biotech crowd

"It's one of the toughest questions in biotechnology: Should businesses obtain patents on genetic information about plants, animals or humans? Michael Capellas, CEO of Compaq Computer Corp., surprised an audience of biotechnology specialists yesterday when he suggested that the answer should be "no.""

"In a comment that stunned the audience into several seconds of silence, Capellas responded to a question on the issue by flatly saying that companies shouldn't be able to patent genes. But he quickly backed away from the comment, pleading ignorance of all the ramifications of the issue. "If you're asking me what should be patentable," Capellas said, "I don't know.""

redux [02.07.02]
find related articles. powered by google. NewScientist Scientists hindered by gene patent

"Patents may make some genetic tests so expensive that ordinary labs cannot afford to offer them, says a team of researchers who interviewed staff at 119 US facilities.

Patents are meant to provide an incentive for companies to put their discoveries into the public domain. But some researchers wonder if prohibitive costs could in fact have the opposite effect, by keeping standard genetic tests out of the reach of all but a few laboratories. That would have far-reaching consequences not only for health care, but for clinical research and quality control, the researchers say."

redux [08.20.01]
find related articles. powered by google. SiliconValley.Com As disease-causing genes are discovered, the rush to the patent office grows

""Like the Terrys, a rising number of patients, doctors and ethicists are questioning how the patent system handles genetic claims. Many say it awards too many patents, overly rewards their holders, and gives too little back to patients. Yet many industry voices complain the process is moving too slowly to keep up with galloping research and to yield medical care awaited by suffering patients."

"The gold rush days are about to begin,'' says Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. "There are so many targets that look so lucrative that they're falling all over one another to pursue opportunity after opportunity.""

redux [02.27.01]
find related articles. powered by google. The Economist Science and profit

"ONCE upon a time, pure and applied science were the same. Sir Humphry Davy discovered seven chemical elements, and invented the miner's safety lamp. Louis Pasteur investigated the properties of molecules, and worked out how to stop milk spoiling. Everybody thought that was admirable. Somehow, things have changed. Today the feeling is widespread that science and commerce should not - must not - mix. There is a queasy suspicion that the process of discovery is in some way corrupted if it is driven by profit."

"Far from compromising science, profit in both these cases - the development of new medicines and the elucidation of the genome - has animated it, and directed it towards meeting pressing human needs. It is a happy marriage. Davy and Pasteur would surely have approved."

redux [08.26.00]
find related articles. powered by google. MIT Technology Review The Case for Gene Patents

"Nowhere are patents more central to the creative process than in genetic drug development, where human genes and their expressed proteins themselves are developed as therapies. The biotechnology industry in the United States has brought a handful of these crucial new products (recombinant human insulin, to name one of the most familiar) to market and is on the threshold of a bonanza of genetic drugs and vastly greater relief for ill and aging populations around the world.

Patent protection is the sine qua non of that bonanza."

redux [04.26.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Signals Homestead 2000: The Genome

""The analogy that I would use is that of a minefield," said Bob Levy, senior VP of science and technology for American Home Products. "We are spending an incredible amount of time now, when we find exciting targets and begin to validate them, in trying to define who has rights to what. And we're finding, in almost every product that we look at, that someone has patented the protein, the gene, a fragment, a diagnostic test." Levy noted that untangling patent rights, and determining which patents are dominant, are increasingly time-consuming and expensive tasks. And patent-holders must be paid. "The royalties that will be involved soon in some of the products that we are bringing to market, they're already up into the ten, fourteen, fifteen percent [range]," said Levy. "And that may increase with time.""

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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